Plant-Based Basics and Why It's Worth Trying

In recent years, plant-based nutrition has gained quite some momentum, with a significant increase in people becoming vegan per year. Research shows a 900% increase in the demand for meat-free alternatives in the UK in 2017, a 600% increase in people identifying as vegan in USA between 2014 and 2017 and in Australia, the number of product lines carrying vegan products increased by 92% from 2014 to 2016. There are usually three reasons that a person decides to cut out animal products: Ethical reasons, Environmental reasons or Health reasons, so lets dive in and explore these a bit more.



ETHICS


Regardless on your opinion on whether or not as humans we should consume animals, the appalling and nauseating state of the modern-day meat industry is a far cry from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We know through observing indigenous communities around the world that traditional tracking and hunting wild animals usually resulted in the oldest, slower members of the herd to be slaughtered, and therefore much closer to the natural order of selection than current practices. Without going too far down this dark path (I'll save the heavy stuff for another post), it is important to reconnect with the food on your plate and start to consider whether it aligns with your values. You can learn more here, (if you have the stomach!), or here for some scary statistics.


ENVIRONMENT


Environmentally, it has been shown that the meat industry accounts for the majority of the worlds fossil fuel emissions (60%), and is contributing heavily to the deforestation and severe poverty in some regions.

If the entire world went plant-based tomorrow, we could reduce overall human-generated greenhouse gas emissions by about 15% and food-related emissions by 70%.

As you can see in the graph, livestock, beef in particular, accounts for a disproportionate requirement for land, water and energy, having a significant impact on future sustainability.



HEALTH


Possibly the most exciting aspect of plant-based living is the incredible health benefits that arise as a result. Plant foods are abundant in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, polyphenols and many other nutrients. Plants come directly from the earth, and are as nature intended, offering profound healing benefits to the body. A wholefood refers to a food presented in its most natural state with as little interference from humans as possible. With plant-foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables, these foods can be eaten right from the source with no manipulation whatsoever. Similarly, legumes and grains usually only require a simple sprouting process which uses water and condensation to germinate the 'seed'. Processed foods on the other hand are typically filled with added sugar, salt, preservatives, additives, colours, and artificial flavours, and typically undergo intense processing methods which strip it of its nutritional value. Processed meats such as salami, deli ham, and processed chicken have been labelled by the World Health Organisation as a Class 1 Carcinogen meaning they are known to be linked with cancer. Plants however are natural detoxifiers of the body and encourage its natural healing mechanism to be activated. Plant-based diets have been associated with lower levels of all lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, digestive complaints, lethargy and even symptoms of depression and anxiety [1][2][3][4]. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and prominent in all Western societies. The only diet scientifically shown to reverse the effects of heart disease is plant-based, wholefood eating. Therefore, eating predominantly plants in their natural state will not only maintain good health, but actually help reverse damaging effects of the past!


Whatever your reason for stumbling upon this article, we are so happy to have you here! There is no better time like right now to start - if this resonates with you and you feel called to begin the steps down this path, I highly recommend signing up for the next "Challenge 22" group challenge at https://challenge22.com/. They guide you through 22 days of daily challenges that push you to try new things and experiment a little with the lifestyle while providing kind words of support and a completely non-judgmental environment.

Until next time my friends!

xo


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